1.75 trillion US dollars: half the power for climate and social affairs

Status: 10/29/2021 7:45 a.m.

US President Biden has presented a multi-billion dollar social and climate protection program. But the package has shrunk by half – not good news for the upcoming G20 and climate summits.

The impatience grows. When will the Biden government’s prestige investment plans finally be approved by Congress? Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi is certain that the multi-billion dollar social and climate protection package will be passed by the Senate very soon.

“The initiative provides tax breaks for the middle class, creates well-paid jobs, lowers costs for families and increases taxes for the rich and companies”, summarizes Pelosi the “Spending Bill”.

“That’s what you call a compromise”

Time is of the essence and a lot is at stake for US President Joe Biden. His credibility, the success of his presidency and the future of the Democrats. In order to achieve consensus within the Democrats, the President was willing to cut corners.

“We worked for hours and months for it,” said Biden. “Not everyone got what they wanted – including me. But that’s what you call a compromise.”

The intra-party agreement was to cut the investment package from over $ 3.5 trillion to $ 1.75 trillion. Resistance to the high spending had come from within. Two more conservative Democrats, Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, were unwilling to carry the package. Since Biden has to rely on their votes in the Senate, he had to give in. Nevertheless, the President spoke of a reform project with historical dimensions.

Big investments in better childcare

“This is a framework that creates millions of jobs, advances the economy and invests in our nation,” said Biden, just before heading to Europe for the G20 summit in Rome and the climate summit in Glasgow.

“The climate crisis will be an opportunity to win economic competition in the 21st century – with China and with every major country in the world,” said Biden.

Most of the investments are to go into childcare, for example in free preschools for three to four year olds and in tax breaks for families with children. “There are nearly two million women in America today who are out of work because they cannot afford childcare,” said the US president.

Paid parental leave is not coming

In addition, health insurance and care for the elderly are to be improved and billions of dollars are to be invested in the fight against climate change, especially in renewable energies.

One important detail fell out of the reform package in the end: Biden wanted to introduce paid parental leave, but had to sacrifice these plans. To the displeasure of many Democrats, the United States is one of only six countries in the world that does not have paid parental leave. So it could possibly take a while until all the discrepancies are resolved.

Waiting for the vote: Biden is fighting for his social and climate protection package

Claudia Sarre, ARD Washington, October 29th, 2021 6:38 am


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